“Lay yourself upon your bed now, if you please, Miss Adams,” said Dr. Brown in his brusque medical voice. He patted a spot two-thirds of the way down the mattress. “Upon your back, with your bottom here. Your knees raised and spread, if you please. We will begin by discussing your vagina.”
It had taken all of five minutes to piece together the true story of Miss Adams’ defloration. The most remarkable fact Dr. Brown had ascertained did not, in the end, involve her drawers: he had encountered more than one young woman, previously, who had burnt her undergarments in an attempt to evade detection. The circumstance that surprised Dr. Brown was, rather, the senior footman James Oakes’ nearly successful effort to suppress the knowledge of Miss Adams’ shame, as the world termed such acts of illicit coitus.
If Dr. Brown had not known precisely what he must look for, and to precisely which servants he must speak, he would not have uncovered the matter. He ventured to say, without danger of flattering himself, that he might well be the only man in England—perhaps even in the world—able piece the story together under the circumstances. Thus, if Miss Adams had not had the good fortune to be the daughter of a nobleman so circumstanced as to have Dr. Brown at his disposal, Oakes’ efforts would probably have been successful, and her eventual happiness, oddly enough, ruined by the very gesture that the young man valiantly intended to save her.
Five pounds in the hand of the stable boy, always a servant so placed as to hear from both the coachman and the footmen their choicest exploits in their master’s household, had ferreted out the outline of the tale. Dr. Brown need only discover the rest of it from Miss Adams here in her chamber, and he would be able to make his findings and recommendation known to the society.
He felt fairly confident that he could handle the matter discreetly with Mr. and Mrs. Rand: as long as scandal might be avoided, their management of Miss Adams’ career in London society should continue to prove a boon to them, thanks to the duke’s generous repayment of the kindness they did his daughter. As long as her courtship might be managed, once she reached town, under the society’s watchful eyes, there seemed little reason to doubt she might make a fine marriage to a chosen man capable of providing the dominance Miss Adams would require to find connubial bliss.
Indeed, the footman Oakes’ apparent decision to attempt the discipline of Miss Adams for her conduct had revealed, Dr. Brown felt certain—though he intended to verify this fact presently, as he must before he made any recommendation on its basis—her need for submission. James Oakes had done her a true service after all, though it would require Dr. Brown’s intervention to realize its benefits.
The doctor’s most difficult task, in the end, might be to persuade Mr. Rand to do his erstwhile servant some significant good turn to compensate the young man for the selfless deed by which he had preserved Miss Adams’ honor in such difficult circumstances. The girl otherwise would surely have found a way to do that honor, and the honor of those around her, grave injury, and though Mr. Oakes did not perhaps deserve a knighthood, surely he deserved to be found a situation elsewhere—and of course he had also earned a letter of introduction, which Dr. Brown himself would provide if he could find the apparently vanished man, to the Society for the Correction of Natural Daughters. Though except in extraordinary cases the society awarded the mastery of the girls whose sexual training they oversaw only to gentlemen, the services of a young man capable of firm-handed discipline were always welcomed, and well rewarded, in the members’ households.
That challenge lay in the future however: at this moment Dr. Brown need only conduct what he termed an instructional examination of a fairly standard kind, to ascertain the circumstances surrounding Miss Adams’ defloration. He must also, to be sure, awaken the young lady to her duty, as well as to the pleasure fulfilling that duty might bring, should she hew to the natural approach to her sexuality that the doctor would present to her. All of this he had done now for so many other girls of every rank and station that though he always took great pleasure in the particularities and peculiarities of each young woman’s circumstances, and in tailoring his instruction to them, he had no consciousness of any difficulty in discharging his commission.
He could see, though, without surprise, that the discussion he had opened concerning Miss Adams’ vagina would not prove anywhere near as routine for her as it did for him. His understanding of the events transpiring in her sexual life over the past forty-eight hours indicated to him that she had at some point made a decision to approach the matter of courtship and marriage in a manner that Dr. Brown called natural, but which the world usually characterized as coquettish, flirtatious, or even whorish. The best way to begin to instruct such a girl, so as to bring about the adjustment of such conduct to the conventions enforced by society upon well-born young women—even the natural daughters of dukes—was, in Dr. Brown’s experience, to make certain they understood that they could still feel shame, and along with shame feel also modesty, which Dr. Brown often privately allegorized as shame’s handmaiden.
Miss Adams certainly felt both, now, as she had frozen in the midst of complying with Dr. Brown’s instruction to lie upon her bed, looking over her shoulder at him with the crimson mounting in her fair cheeks. Her mouth had fallen slightly open, indicating that—hardly unexpectedly—she had nothing to say.
“Go ahead, please, Miss Adams,” Dr. Brown said rather severely. He patted the spot where he had requested she place her backside again. “We must speak frankly about your vagina, now, and it is best that it be exposed to my eye and, with the help of my mirror, to yours, when we do so, so that I can illustrate my words and teach you about your needs and responsibilities.”
He went to his bag and fetched the simple oak hand mirror that he had found so very useful over the years: its silvered glass, six inches in circumference, glinted in the rather dim sunlight filtering in through the partly drawn curtains. The sight of the mirror affected Miss Adams most extremely—as it often did with girls who needed to be brought back to notions of shame that they had attempted to abandon. She gave a little cry, and turned so that she now stood beside her bed, facing Dr. Brown across it. She took a step backward, looking exceedingly charming in her chemise and making him regret, as he very often did, the fashions of the time that created such an artificial figure out of a young woman’s body, in the service of an utterly false idea of her proper needs and desires.
“You will hold this mirror, Miss Adams,” he said, “while I examine you, so that you can observe the things it is important for you to understand about your body.”
“But…” said Miss Adams very weakly.
“Miss Adams,” Dr. Brown said, increasing the authority in his tone greatly. “I would rather not have to resort to unpleasant means in order to obtain your compliance in your medical care, but I will if I must. Your father has given me the authority to whip you, if necessary, to persuade you to the necessity of my ministrations.”
He put the mirror back in his bag and fetched out the short leather strap he used on house calls to ensure young ladies’ obedience. Miss Adams gave another cry, this one louder than the one drawn from her by the first sight of the hand mirror.
“I would prefer not to have to use this, Miss Adams, but if necessary I can summon a footman to hold you in place while I bare your backside and teach you to mind me. Young ladies generally regret their refusal to do as I say when they have to begin their examinations with a whipped bottom.”
He had known of course that the mention of the footman would have a strong effect upon Miss Adams, and he had included it in his little discourse particularly in order to see how precisely that effect might show itself. Her startled eyes, her further backward step, and her hands thrust instinctively behind her as if to ward off bare-bottom discipline, all told him just what he needed to know—and also exactly what he had expected to find. The footman Oakes had made punishment by a firm masculine hand, and its erotic consequences, a very fraught matter for Miss Rebecca Adams. No further doubt could exist that she belonged to that broad class of women whom Dr. Brown’s research taught him to see as fit candidates for sexual training and pleasurable use by a natural man.
“Shall I ring?” he asked more gently. “Or will you do as I have asked, and have your examination?”
Miss Adams’ brow furrowed deeply, and for a moment she remained irresolute and motionless, her hands behind her still clutching the bottom spanked by James Oakes the previous day and quite probably remembering that unusual punishment of an aristocrat by a servant with great vividness. Then, softly, she said, “I will… I will… lie down.”
She did not immediately bestir herself to do so, however, and the crease in her brow grew deeper. Dr. Brown knew with fair exactitude what the girl underwent, and how to assist her: he turned to his bag and returned the strap there, then rummaged for the speculum, without yet bringing that article into the light. From the corner of his eye, he saw Miss Adams begin to climb onto the bed, her modesty having ebbed a little, the doctor knew, when she saw his attention diverted from her nearly naked form. Even in that ebbing, of course, Miss Rebecca Adams would learn a good deal more about the inescapability of shame’s power over her—above all because when Dr. Brown turned back to her, holding the speculum and ready to lift her chemise’s hem above her waist, she would experience a very great deal of that power all in a rush.
He waited until she had laid herself on her back, his hands still inside the bag. Then he said, looking at her posture with a critical eye, “Move yourself a little further down, if you please, Miss Adams. Then, as I said, raise your knees and spread them as wide as you can, so that I may easily access your vagina and anus.”
Miss Adams’ lips drew into a tight line, and her brow continued to show the distress occasioned by the emotions the doctor knew so well how to raise in a young woman’s breast. She obeyed, though, so that her chemise hung like a scarcely adequate veil, barely covering her spread knees.
Now Dr. Brown removed the speculum, and held it in his right hand, with the hand mirror in his left. He extended the mirror toward Miss Adams, who regarded it rather as one might a poisonous adder. The lovely girl’s eyes darted from the silvered mirror to the metal speculum, apprehension growing there with each passing second.
“Take the mirror, if you please, Miss Adams,” he said.
“Wh-what is that, Doctor?” she asked imploringly, her eyes fixed on the article in his right hand, rather than the mirror in his left.
“That is my speculum, Miss Adams. I will use it to examine the inside of your vagina and anus.”
“I am sure you have never been examined this way before, Miss Adams, but my methods are up to date, and necessary for your well-being. Take the mirror, now, or I shall have to fetch my strap after all.”
Rebecca simply did not understand. How could he use the metal thing in his right hand to… to examine inside those places? She still could not reconcile herself to any notion of how the coquette should behave when confronted by such frankness from a physician sent by her father. Should the brazen hussy Rebecca pretended to be simply show her most private charms, without shame? Could even the most resolute flirt bear to hold a mirror not up to her pretty face but down… down there?
Yes, she had blushed when James had demanded that she submit to his discipline for what she had done with William, but she had decided that James must be a very special, unusual sort of person. She supposed she had blushed, too, when William showed her his prick, and when he had uncovered her pantalets so that he could look at her, at what lay exposed in the split between their legs, and touch her there so saucily before he got between her knees and entered her for the first time.
But she had got over her shame with William, had she not? And she had written that note, intending to put modesty even further behind her. If first James and then Mrs. Rand had not interrupted, she would surely have received a second fucking from William, and her blushes would have been fewer on that occasion, she felt sure.
Nor did she feel much embarrassment before Mrs. Rand, who—though Rebecca felt very grateful to the older woman—wished only to keep such matters hid, no matter what the cost to the freedom of a girl like Rebecca. Moreover, Mrs. Rand herself had told Rebecca she might flirt a little, and now, it seemed, the hypocrisy of that sentiment stood revealed—even without the matron knowing what had happened in the little woods, but rather only having seen its strange sequel in her chamber.
But James… and, now, Dr. Brown… They seemed very different from William and even from Mr. Rand. They seemed to understand something about Rebecca’s intentions, and even about her most secret desires, that gave them a sort of power over her. James’ big hand, coming down upon her bottom. Dr. Brown’s strap, ready to chastise disobedience. It seemed monstrous to her, but somehow the idea that a man such as they might teach her a lesson, so as to cure her of her brazen ways and restore her modesty and love of virtue, had forced her to contemplate the path of the coquette and its pretty flowers in a new light.
And the doctor worked this change not by telling her to feel ashamed of her private parts but by speaking with perfect frankness about them: by saying that they must discuss her vagina, as if one could simply utter a word like that in a normal voice. When James had told her to call it that, the place William had called her cunt, the place where she had received the hardness of the footman’s prick, he had spoken lowly, if also with what had seemed to Rebecca a manly frankness miles away from William’s naughty randiness.
When Dr. Brown spoke it out, though, announcing that it would constitute their first topic of conversation, it had made Rebecca feel that not just the physician, but the whole social order that he seemed to her to represent, would now discuss the desperate need of Miss Rebecca Adams to have a prick inside her. She felt she could withstand any mortification Mrs. Rand might seek to bring upon her. Dr. Brown’s clinical manner, though, and his mirror, and the metal thing it seemed he meant to put inside her where the prick had gone, paradoxically raised in sharp relief the shameful idea of why it was that Miss Rebecca Adams must undergo this humiliating examination.
Miss Rebecca Adams should be a well-behaved young lady, but she must now have her vagina inspected. She must have a discussion about that place that even a coquette knew not to be the subject of polite conversation. She must hold a hand mirror and look at the tender furrow that William’s eyes had feasted upon so greedily, the place she herself touched at night, under her night rail.
Thus, she blushed, though it made her furious with herself, and that seemed only to make the blush deeper. But she could not bear, she thought, even to see that terrible black strap again, let alone to feel it across her backside. She took the mirror in trembling fingers, still looking at the other thing… the speculum, had the doctor called it?
“Alright, then,” said Dr. Brown, now again genial, “let’s have a look at you.” Rebecca felt the crease in her forehead deepen, and she bit her lip as the doctor reached down with his left hand and drew up the chemise, tugging the hem all the way to her navel, so that the fabric gathered above Rebecca’s hips. She knew she wouldn’t see much from her position, even with her knees up, for she had tried, once, when completely alone in her bedroom, to get a glimpse of what the ploughboy would see if he turned up her skirts to do what the husband had done to his wife. Still, though on that occasion she had craned her neck desperately, now she found she must close her eyes so as not to see Dr. Brown examining her from his much more favorable angle.
“Lovely, Miss Adams,” he said. “Open your eyes, if you please, and hold the mirror above your belly, so that you can get a good look at yourself and at what I am going to do.”
“Please, Dr. Brown,” she said, her eyes still closed. “I would much rather not see that. It is alright.” Thoughts and feelings warred ceaselessly in her mind. It seemed a betrayal of her flirtatious character and her idea that she must be the shameless natural daughter of the Duke of Panton, but the physician’s didactic tone seemed to restore to her the modesty of which she felt so desperate to rid herself.
“I am afraid I must insist, Miss Adams,” said Dr. Brown. “It is entirely necessary that you understand what I am going to tell you. I am a little surprised to find you so foolish, but thankfully I have the remedy.”
Rebecca heard what must be the speculum being set down on the nightstand. Her eyes flew open.
“No—please, Doctor,” she cried when she saw that he had indeed again removed the short strap of black leather from his bag. “I will… I will…”
But she did not mean it, did she, this promise of compliance? She understood suddenly that her character had to it an aspect at which she had never guessed, perhaps because at school the threat of the birch had never manifested itself with the slightest degree of reality. Her face burned as she realized it, but Dr. Brown and James between them had indeed taught her a lesson, though she wondered greatly whether either of them would be pleased to hear it, since it seemed to work so thoroughly in opposition to their professed aims: Miss Rebecca Adams would defy the world—indeed, she needed to defy the world.
Miss Rebecca Adams would require discipline, if a footman or a physician felt it necessary to secure her compliance in something the world would think shameful, not because she did not want to do that thing, but because she did not want to be known to want it. From that elemental source came this modesty, this shame: from that spring welled up the burning of her pantalets. She did not mind in the slightest that she had enjoyed being fucked by a footman, after the first pain of it had passed, and she did not mind that a part of her wanted to hold the mirror as Dr. Brown had instructed her to do, and look upon her vagina. She minded only being adjudged weak, and she would not shirk from a test of her strength.
So, as Dr. Brown said, now, “Yes, Miss Adams, you will hold the mirror as I have requested, but first you shall be punished, so that I may make clear to you the importance of your compliance.”
Then, to her shock, he swept her knees off the bed with his left arm, and pressed them firmly to her breast.
“Young ladies generally find this position the most embarrassing for a whipping,” the doctor said matter-of-factly, “and I hope you will learn from that embarrassment as well as from the discomfort occasioned by my strap.”
A good deal of the defiance Rebecca had felt only a moment before vanished as she understood what he meant. He intended to whip her this way, with her private parts exposed so very fully that her resolution of shamelessness again received a severe check. Much as she wished to pretend that as a brazen hussy she would have no reservation about riding naked through the town like Lady Godiva, she met modesty anew, in the posture Dr. Brown enforced, his arm now rising high, the wicked strap ready to strike.
“Oh, please,” she cried, but the strap flashed down across her bottom, and the cry for mercy became a yelp of pain. He whipped her once, twice, three times, so sternly that Rebecca knew the welts would stand out clearly, and be terribly visible in the mirror she must now hold. Tears sprang to her eyes, and she whimpered like a punished puppy.
“There,” Dr. Brown said with a satisfied air. “Are you ready to proceed, Miss Adams?”
“Yes,” Rebecca said meekly, knowing that her face wore a little girl’s pout, mouth turned down and nose wrinkled.
“Are you sorry you defied me?”
“Yes,” she said automatically.
Was she, though? Rebecca certainly didn’t want any more cuts of the terrible strap; her backside hurt awfully. But she also felt… Well, she felt proud. He had had to whip her, before she would do the thing any girl would call shameful. She didn’t know whether she really found it shameful, any more than she knew, really, whether what she did with her fingers in her bed at night was truly immodest.
Then, too, she felt an emotion that seemed even stranger under the circumstances: gratitude. She knew that whipped young women were often required to thank the authority who had delivered their discipline, but she did not think that her gratitude was of the hypocritical variety they were meant to feel. No, Rebecca felt grateful to Dr. Brown—and to James—for teaching her not so much as to follow their orders as to express her will in her provocation of their stern reprisals.
The doctor let her legs descend, and she spread her knees and kept them raised.
“Hold the mirror as I told you now,” he said. “You’ll see, among other things, three pretty red stripes that weren’t there before.”
He delivered these words in a jovial tone that Rebecca thought she could discern he meant in a kindly way. She felt her brow crease again as she complied, and she could not suppress a little whimper to see her prediction and his description proven entirely accurate: three red welts displayed that Miss Rebecca Adams was a naughty girl who needed a lesson from a firm hand before she would do as her physician bid her.
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